Let’s start with three very important things worth mentioning about Jeep’s Avenger. One, this is Jeep’s very first fully electric car. Two, it has already been named European Car of the Year for 2023. Three—and somewhat staggeringly, considering these first two significant details—it’s not going on sale in the US.
Why? Jeep thinks it’s not big enough for the Americans. “While the B segment, in which the Jeep Avenger competes, is popular in markets such as Europe, the US consumer tends to favor vehicles in the midsize and large SUV segments,” a Jeep brand spokesperson tells WIRED. “This is why we are launching other all-electric vehicles, such as Wagoneer S and Jeep Recon, which will compete in the midsize segment globally, including the US.”
This might go some way to explaining why the Avenger is a Jeep, but not as you know it. For a start, it’s front-wheel drive. While Jeep will rush to prove the EV’s rugged skills by pointing at the Selec-Terrain traction control system—with its sand, mud, and snow modes—and talking about hill-descent control and a surprisingly decent break-over angle afforded by stubby overhangs, even the company will eventually admit that this is an on-road, urban-oriented EV. The Rubicon trail isn’t where it’s at for the Avenger, but it will mountain-goat over any school-side curb and speed bump that you care to throw at it.
This about-town focus is no bad thing. In fact, one of WIRED’s favorite things about the Jeep Avenger is that it’s a small car. At 4,084 millimeters long and 1,776 millimeters wide, it’s not much bigger than a VW Polo, even if the bluff styling and higher ride height give more presence on the road.
And, despite the city-friendly dimensions, it’s got decent enough room in the back seats for an average-size adult to comfortably sit behind another in the front. The lack of a center rear armrest is very annoying, yes, but the biggest issue is with the rear seats. That door aperture is narrow, and the sill you have to step over is high, so it’s easy to trip as you get in.
Access niggles aside, the Avenger’s interior roominess is better than in the Vauxhall Mokka-e, and is roughly on par with alternatives like the MG4. Even the Jeep’s 355-liter boot, with shallow underfloor cable storage, will be up to lugging most families’ everyday stuff around, though it’s worth pointing out that the VW ID.3 and Cupra Born are bigger and quite a bit more spacious (if not as well equipped) despite being a similar price.
We should point out that Jeep is part of the vast constellation of Stellantis brands, which means it parts-shares with Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, DS, and more. Many of these also make compact, electric family SUVs like the Jeep. So isn’t it just the same as the e-2008, DS-3 e-Tense, and Mokka?
Yes and no. The Avenger is one of the first Stellantis models to get a new, heavily updated version of the company’s eCMP platform. Called, predictably, the eCMP2, this platform holds a bigger, 54-kWh NMC lithium-ion battery that delivers 51-kWh usable capacity and has the cells arrayed differently (largely under the front and rear seats) to supposedly allow for better packaging.
The Avenger also gets a new, 154-bhp permanent magnet electric motor. Dubbed the M3 motor, it’s more efficient than those used in earlier eCMP cars, plus there’s a heat pump as standard—praise be, as this is a pricey option on some rivals.
All of this combines to give the Avenger a WLTP range of 249 miles, and my day’s testing suggested that it’ll get close to that in summertime real-world driving. Over a variety of free-flowing country roads and some clogged-up town stuff, I managed 4.4 m/kWh, even with a spot of spirited Sport mode usage thrown in. Good for a real-world range of 224 miles, so not bad.